Terry Francona recruiting MLB free agents for Indians

David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

The new Indians manager is working the phone in advance of MLB's winter meetings.

Terry Francona spent a season away from the field as a TV analyst after being cut loose by the Boston Red Sox at the end of the 2011 season. Despite being out of the game for a season, the new Indians manager still knows what to do ahead of the annual winter meetings: work the phone for his team.

The Indians have already shown interest in a guy they've seen plenty of over the years. Free agent Kevin Youkilis is being courted by the Indians and the team he ended last season with, the Chicago White Sox.

The Indians are also in need of outfield and pitching help and have shown some interest in Shane Victorino, Jason Bay and Nick Swisher. The Tribe could go out and get Jair Jurrjens who was recently cut loose by the Atlanta Braves after being injured much of last season.

Indians GM Chris Antonetti says having Francona as a manager has many fringe benefits, especially when it comes to courting free agents.

I think Terry is very well-respected throughout the game. In talking to players and agents, they all know how he creates a quality environment for players to play in. It's an attractive component to have as players weigh their alternatives.

The MLB winter meetings get underway Monday in Nashville, Tenn.

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